Human Exceptionalism

Oregon Will Never Ration Assisted Suicide

Oregon explicitly rations health care to its Medicaid recipients. This means that some patients with terminal conditions have been denied life-extending treatments because the state proclaimed that their lives were not worth the cost of the care needed for them to continue.

Assisted suicide has also been on the rationing list, albeit in a spot (palliative care) that guaranteed that it would never be withheld.

But even that wasn’t good enough for the Death State. The Oregon Health Department has now taken it off the rationing list altogether and issued an explicit declaration that, come what may, doctor-prescribed death will always be available to the poor: From the new Prioritized List of Health Services, page 102:

STATEMENT OF INTENT 2: DEATH WITH DIGNITY ACT  It is the intent of the Commission that services under ORS 127.800-127.897 (Oregon Death with Dignity Act) be covered for those that wish to avail themselves to those services. Such services include but are not limited to attending physician visits, consulting physician confirmation, mental health evaluation and counseling, and prescription medications. 

The shift will make no practical difference, but I think it is a very important one symbolically. It’s message is unequivocal: You sick and poor, we will always pay for you to die–come what may! But to live? Not necessarily.

Perhaps that’s because assisted suicide might cost about $1,000, while costing $100,000 to make it so the patient doesn’t want to take poison.

I think it might also reflect the view I am detecting among the technocratic class that assisted suicide/euthanasia eventually become not just an option, but the preferred “choice.” That is certainly the flow of the current now in Oregon where assisted suicide has been favored by being taken off the rationing list. 

Culture of death, Wesley? What culture of death?

HT: K. Lundquist

 

 

 

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